Sunday, January 1, 2017

Eight Facts on the “Russian Hacks”

There’s no standing allegation by U.S. officials that the Russians (or anyone else) “hacked” into our elections system or altered vote counts.

So what are the allegations and facts as we know them?

The FBI and DHS released a brief joint report Thursday describing “Russian Malicious Cyber Activity.” It doesn’t include forensic proof of Russian government involvement in hacking efforts, but the administration is rushing a detailed, classified report to be delivered, at President Obama’s request, prior to President Trump taking office January 20.
The joint report can be summarized this way:
  • The U.S. believes two hacking groups tied to the Russian government are involved.
  • The U.S. has nicknamed the hacking groups “APT28” or “Fancy Bear,” and “APT29” or “Cozy Bear.” APT stands for “Advanced Persistent Threat.”
  • The U.S. believes the GRU, Russia’s military service, is behind APT28.
  • The U.S. believes the FSB, Russia’s counterintelligence agency headquartered in the building of the former KGB, is behind APT29.
  • The U.S. believes the groups accessed “a political party” by sending emails that tricked users into clicking links that planted malware or directed them to Russian servers.
  • The U.S. believes APT29 entered into “the party’s systems” in summer 2015, and APT28 in spring 2016.
  • The U.S. believes APT28 provided the stolen emails to WikiLeaks, which WikiLeaks denies. 

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